Living the Gospel – February 21, 2021

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I’ve been thinking about the desert a lot lately. To me, a desert seems barren, lonely, and scary. It is hot, it is dry. If there is a wind, it covers you in dust. There are creepy, crawly pests of all sizes. It is full of challenges—and not especially good ones in my opinion.

Yet, Jesus went there often to pray, to spend time with His Father. I’m guessing He ignored the discomforts and relished the comfort it brought Him. It was quiet, away from the “maddening crowds.” He could recharge, gain strength and reunite with the One who loved Him and encouraged Him above all!

This past Wednesday WE entered the desert with Jesus—or did we? Lent, I think, is the desert—if we “do it right.” It can be barren, lonely, and maybe even scary if we really spend time with Jesus and really look at our lives. It can be very uncomfortable. We see our repeated flaws (sins) whatever they may be, and we all have them. We see how judgmental we can be, how easily we anger, how envy can steal our souls. We see how mixed up our priorities can be. I remember the “motto” of the Diaconate. “First is family, second is job (to support self and family,) and the Diaconate is third.” Of course, it was understood that devotion to God was the umbrella overall! What are our priorities? And do we keep God at the forefront of all? Can we “fast” from some of our favorite activities this Lent to spend more time with Him?

With sincerity of heart, let us enter the desert with Jesus. Let Him rend our hearts to become better followers. Sometimes it may be painful just as overcoming any challenge has its painful, insecure moments. But as we look to Him for help—because we definitely can’t “go it alone,” we can change our hearts, minds, and actions to follow Him more closely. We can recharge, reunite with the One Who loved us so much that He gave His life for us. We can find new strength, peace, even a new self-esteem –the kind that makes us realize that we ARE the children of God that we are. And we will emerge from that desert on Easter morning to a new realization of the love that Christ has for us!

Linda Caminiti